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Union warns of disruptions

The contract dispute between B.C.'s teachers and the provincial government has intensified with the teachers' union warning of significant disruptions as the government threatens a lockout.

The union says many exams, including those for Grade 10 and 11 students, won't be marked, extracurricular activities will be cancelled and teachers won't be prepared for summer school if the government follows through with its threat.

The BC Public School Employers Association informed the union of a 10 per cent pay cut and a planned lockout in a letter to BC Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker, saying union wage demands far surpassed other public sector agreements recently reached.

The teachers' union already planned to begin rotating, one-day strikes beginning next week to back demands that include higher wages.

Iker says the union has tried to minimize the impact on students, but the latest government move shows that it doesn't care.

The province's education minister has suggested the lockout won't affect teachers' ability to participate in extra curricular activities and he says school administrators and parents can work to ensure graduation ceremonies go on as planned.

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